9 June 2005

Politically correct in Woodend

Looking forward to seeing and hearing some of the events in Woodend as the first Winter Arts Festival goes down over the long weekend. I almost said “Queen’s Birthday”, but as it’s not her birthday, it seems a bit redundant. We’d do just as well to call it Christmas, but I digress.

The festival has its own website, and it’s worth checking out the program at: http://www.blogger.com/www.woodendwinterartsfestival.org.au. If I had some extra money kicking around, I would be warming my hands and soul to the Tony Gould Trio at the Victoria Hotel on Friday night. I’ll think about it on payday.

I’m really pleased to see that the festival is making no compromises in its intention to present real quality. While not exactly avant-garde, the program is substantial, and bodes very well for the future. There are already dozens of festivals around country Victoria which, while perfectly well intentioned, attempt little more than scones and watercolours. There is however, as demanding an audience in the regions for adventurous art and music as there is in any capital city. The extraordinary success of the music festivals like Port Fairy Folk, East Coast Blues and Roots and Wangaratta Jazz have shown that uncompromising quality can be both popular and profitable in the country.

The local papers have given it a solid boost this week, with an extensive article in the Leader especially, which introduces us to Jacqueline Ogeil, a well-travelled musician resident in Woodend. She is a notable exponent of Early Music, which emphasizes the performance and recording of classical works on period instruments, especially where listeners have become accustomed to hearing them on modern instruments like the piano, for example. The results can often be startling.

Reading Jacqueline’s statements in the Leader, I came across this weird paragraph: “With record companies it comes down to profits and that is changing the face of classical music. At the moment a lot of great art is not being seen because it is not politically correct and the art scene has become very frigid.”

Now, it might have been a simple slip of the tongue, but politically correct classical music?

I’m sure while record companies might be cutting corners on quality to maximise profits, somehow I don’t think it’s out of anxiety over political correctness! Just think of all those great nigger-minstrel songs languishing in vaults while timid record company executives cower under their desks for fear of violent left-wing protestors in the lobby…

Or is she talking about art in general? All that rousing public sculpture begging John Howard to keep out the boat people, huddling under wraps in the council basement for fear of offending the leftist cultural elites. Pah-lease…

Maybe it’s no surprise that the festival is to be opened by the Member for McEwen, Fran Bailey, since she's certainly in charge of the purse-strings: http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/One-electorate-16-of-27-sports-grants/2005/06/08/1118123897739.html

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Crystal said...
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